GIRLS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Mount Hebron, senior
It was no secret that to stop the Vikings, you had to stop Waagbo. And opponents tried, assigning two -- and sometimes even three -- defenders on the 6-foot forward. But Waagbo was relentless, and once again she led all county players in scoring with 20.1 points a game.
Blessed with a smooth release on her jump shot and a single-minded determination in the post, Waagbo also collected 12.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game. She completed her career with 1,496 points, which places her second on the school's all-time scoring list behind Doreatha Beck's county-best 1,676. Waagbo led Mount Hebron in scoring in every game this season and accounted for 44.1 percent of the team's offense.
"She had a lot of pressure on her," Vikings coach Scott Robinson said. "She knew that if she didn't score a significant amount of points for us, we wouldn't win."
Waagbo, who earned her second straight county Player of the Year award and third consecutive first-team honor, will attend Duke and play lacrosse.
GIRLS COACH OF THE YEAR
Three Atholton starters were lost to injuries in January 2002 and the Raiders compiled an abysmal 2-20 overall record and a 1-17 county mark. The memory of that frustrating campaign stayed with Shacreaw, and the third-year coach used it as motivation for her players.
They responded by adding 10 victories to the win column and ending the season with a 12-11 overall record, an 8-9 league mark and a trip to the Class 2A West region quarterfinals, where the Raiders lost to eventual region champion Walkersville.
A 47-45 loss to Glenelg on Dec. 18 did not comfort Shacreaw, who wasn't content with a moral victory. She wanted the "W," which Atholton delivered by upsetting the Gladiators, 46-38, on Feb. 7. "We needed that win against Glenelg to boost our confidence," Shacreaw said. "That validated to them that they could play with anybody in the league."
The 12 victories are the most the program has enjoyed in at least a decade.
GIRLS FIRST TEAM
Oakland Mills, senior
Buckner started all 94 games in four seasons as the point guard for the Scorpions. The 5-foot-4 standout was the lone bright spot during a 6-17 campaign this season. Buckner averaged 17.2 points, connected on 84 three-pointers and accounted for 40.4 percent of the team's offense. She also registered 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game. A second-team pick last winter, Buckner sits alone in second place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,242 points. Buckner is being recruited by Slippery Rock (Pa.) and East Stroudsburg.
River Hill, senior
Basketballs were always in danger of being snatched when Buescher was on the court. The 6-foot forward completed her career as the Hawks' all-time leader in steals with 303 and is third in rebounds with 439. Buescher, a four-year starter, averaged 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.6 steals and 3.2 assists for No. 5 River Hill, which compiled a 21-4 record and advanced to the Class 3A East region final. She also was coach Teresa Waters' most prized defender and was frequently asked to guard the opponent's most potent scorer. Buescher, the county's co-Player of the Year and an All-Metro selection in soccer, will play that sport at North Carolina State next fall.
Long Reach, junior
Playing summer basketball with St. Frances standouts Angel McCoughtry and Shadae Swan on the Amateur Athletic Union Baltimore Cougars honed Gomez's skills for county competition. The 5-foot-8 guard led the Lightning (15-8) in scoring with 15.7 points a game and in steals with four a game. Gomez, who was a second-team selection last winter, was second on the team in rebounding with eight a game. She has already established herself in the school's record books as the program's first girls basketball player to reach the 1,000-point plateau with 1,025 points. Gomez's fearless drives through the lane and willingness to tangle with taller players for a loose ball have drawn interest from Maryland, Penn State and Virginia Tech.
River Hill, senior
Second only to Waagbo in terms of shooting range and accuracy, Hostetler demonstrated a feathery touch on her perimeter shots and slick head fakes on her way to the basket. The 5-foot-10 shooting guard averaged 17.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.2 steals for the Hawks. She scored 20 points or more in nine games. A two-year varsity starter, Hostetler ended her high school career with 1,015 points, which places her third on River Hill's all-time scoring list. Hostetler, who was chosen to the All-County team last winter, will play lacrosse at George Washington next spring.
Landis earned her second consecutive appearance on the All-County team by directing the Yellow Jackets (19-6) to their second Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference title in as many seasons. The 5-foot-4 point guard led Chapelgate in scoring in 20 of 25 games and averaged 17.6 points. Landis also recorded 5.2 assists, four rebounds and 3.3 steals a game. A new hesitation move helped her go to the free-throw line 141 times -- of which she converted 105 for a 74.5 accuracy rate. With one more year left, Landis is already the school's all-time leader in assists with 452 and is second in points (1,188).
Like Buescher, Starcher was an All-County soccer player who made a similar impact in basketball. The 5-foot-8 shooting guard was the most consistent player for the No. 7 Gladiators, who finished with an 18-4 record and a trip to the Class 2A West region semifinals. Starcher was second on the team in scoring with 10.5 points a game and third in rebounding with 4.8 per game. She led Glenelg in three-pointers with 31. But more important than numbers, Starcher was the team leader who called teammates during the offseason and reminded them of pickup games and weight-training sessions. She will play basketball at McDaniel College next winter.